If you recently earned a college degree, you may be thinking that the hard part is over. But the real challenge is about to begin. Finding a good job is no small feat and it often means sitting through round after round of interviews. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and certain mistakes can make the difference between getting hired and getting passed over.
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1. You Don’t Look the Part
Research shows that it takes a tenth of a second for someone to form an opinion of you based solely on how you look. That’s why your appearance is crucial when it comes to interviews.
If you show up looking sloppy or unkempt, the hiring manager might subconsciously assume that you approach everything else with a haphazard attitude, including the way you do your job. Presenting the most professional image possible can set the tone for the rest of the interview.
2. You Don’t Know Anything About the Company
You wouldn’t take a big exam without studying for it first. The same goes for a job interview.
Before you sit down with the interviewer, it’s a good idea to know a little something about the company. Scoping out their website to get a feel for their mission is a good start, but you might also want to be looking at what a potential employer is actively doing.
For example, if you come across a press release announcing the launch of a new product or an article on a recent charity event the company sponsored, you can use those as conversation starters during the interview. At some point, the interviewer will ask you what you know about the company and having that inside knowledge shows that you’ve done your homework.
3. You Don’t Ask Good Questions
Eventually, the interviewer will give you a chance to ask questions of your own, so it’s important to be prepared with some solid queries. The job’s salary, 401(k) plan and paid vacation time are subjects you’ll want to steer clear of until you’re further along in the interview process.
You probably don’t want to ask generic questions either that could easily be answered by looking at the company’s website. Asking the hiring manager what kind of challenges you could expect in the job or what they like about working for the company are good starting points.
It’s wise, however, to avoid getting too personal and battering the interviewer with an endless list of questions. Keeping it short, simple and focused is always the best approach.
4. You’re Not Enthusiastic
Unless you just get extremely lucky, chances are you’re going to have to start your career in a job that you don’t necessarily love. If the position isn’t with your dream employer or the job isn’t exactly what you want to be doing, letting it show through your facial expressions and responses is a guaranteed way to sabotage the interview.
The bottom line? Employers can tell when you’re faking it. So if you show up for an interview with a ho-hum attitude, you’re probably not going to get a callback. Not only have you wasted your time and theirs, but if you ever cross paths again, they might remember your lack of enthusiasm.
If your number one goal is getting hired, passion counts just as much as your knowledge and skills.
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